Gilt Shadow pleasing Crawford

Stuart Crawford felt Gilt Shadow took a big step back in the right direction with his recent third at Leopardstown.

County Antrim-based Crawford had high hopes for the six-year-old this year after he finished second to The Liquidator in a Grade One bumper at the Punchestown Festival last season.

An impressive winner at Down Royal on his hurdling debut, he was then upped massively in class for the Royal Bond Hurdle at Fairyhouse, won by The Tullow Tank.

Off for nearly two months after that unplaced effort, he was not beaten far by Sure Reef in a Grade Two which has thrown up plenty of decent horses down the years.

"We took a chance at Fairyhouse as he was up in class and on the quickest ground he had ever encountered," said Crawford.

"In hindsight we should have waited and run him in the Navan Novice Hurdle which Briar Hill won.

"We've just put a line through Fairyhouse, and Leopardstown was much more encouraging. You won't see him at his best until he gets a test of stamina and a strong pace to run at.

"He's in the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett but he doesn't have to go to Cheltenham this year, there are plenty of other good novice events for him.

"If he does go to Cheltenham - and he wouldn't be out of place - he'd go straight there without another run."